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The preservation of sound archives: A computer science based approach to quality control

This thesis aim at establishing an organic connection in the many aspects involved in the preservation of audio documents. This has been achieved living first hand experiences in archival institutions and in academic research laboratories. The result is a multidisciplinary set of knowledge that is herein presented within the framework of a scienti c methodology, the guiding thread of which is a computer science based approach to the quality control in the preservation process. The thesis is organized in fi ve parts. Part one explores the field of preservation with a focus on ethics and philology, reporting the positions of the most authoritative representatives within the international archival community with respect to the cultural dilemma of supporting preservation. In the light of these positions, the author proposes her own methodology for preservation, and details an operational protocol reflecting the theoretical principles. Part two describes the original software that the author has developed with the aim of achieving a greater control over the quality of the preservation process, supporting and automatizing its related activities. Part three reports the results of chemical, mechanical and audio analyses that have been conducted in order to advance the understanding of one of the most common restoration methods for magnetic tapes: thermal treatment.
Part four describes the research projects in which the author has collaborated and within the scope of which most of the work presented herein has been carried out. The archives involved have proved an invaluable testbed for the de nfiition of the methodology, allowing the author to perfect the procedures in the light ofthe problems of real-world archives. Finally, part ve moves in the directions of an advanced research eld in the preservation area, focused on artistic interactive multimedia installations. Sound is one of the elements that contributes to the creation of the artistic experience, and every aspect of audio preservation is comprised in this eld, with the additional problems of dealing with multiple media and with real-time interaction. This parts includes important case studies that the author has taken care of, among which an interactive multimedia installation presented at the Expo 2002. During the author's work in the archives, among the most requested missing tools was an exhaustive list of symptoms and signs of degradation that aff ecting di fferent types of audio media. The substantial appendix closing this work includes the summary, obtained by crossing several sources and aligning overlapping/contradicting de nitions.

Mostra/Nascondi contenuto.
2 Introduction \In preservation, no one can aord to be an island." [1, p. 14] Computer science oers multiple possibilities to study the elds of humanities: a major topic that has been rapidly growing along the past decades is the imple- mentation of computer engineering in musical cultural heritage, with a particular relation to the audio documents preservation: \Professional audio experience, mu- sical knowledge, and the ability to verify or confute [. . . ] human perceptions with precise measurement, make audio engineers and technicians [. . . ] the best candi- dates for recognizing playback problems and intervening during archival transfers. [. . . ] Ideally, an audio preservation workow would also involve the services of a specialized programmer. [This] cuts costs, saves time and reduces the opportunity for human error" [2, p. 9] (see Subsection 6.2.2 for more details on the relation between automation and the reduction of human error). Scholars and the general public started paying greater attention to the recordings of musical events and to their value, at a personal/collective level and for cul- tural/entertainment purposes. However, a systematic preservation and the fruition of these documents is complicated by their diversied nature: recordings contain other cultural- and artistic-related information that go beyond the audio signal itself. In this sense, a faithful and satisfying access to the audio document cannot be achieved without its associated contextual information, i.e., to all the content- independent information represented by the box/case, the signs on the carrier, the accompanying material and so on. This work investigates the scientic and the technological aspects of cultural her- itage preservation. More precisely, it focuses on the denition of a protocol for the re-mediation process of sound recordings, exploiting the knowledge of dierent research areas, from computer science to archival science, from chemistry to lin- guistics. The guiding thread is a computer science based approach to the particular aspect of quality control in the re-mediation process. Re-mediation is the action of transferring acoustic information from a medium to another medium: currently it is the only solution to the problem of carriers degradation, which eventually leads to an irreversible loss of information. The same applies to non-acoustic in-

Tesi di Dottorato

Dipartimento: Dipartimento di Informatica

Autore: Federica Bernardini Bressan Contatta »

Composta da 432 pagine.


Questa tesi ha raggiunto 25 click dal 02/02/2015.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.